Argentina announces new restrictions aimed at containing 2nd coronavirus wave
By Aitor Pereira
Buenos Aires, Apr 9 (EFE).- Argentina’s government on Friday unveiled a package of measures aimed at containing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, including a limited nighttime curfew and restrictions on the use of public transport.
Among the measures that took effect at midnight Thursday is a ban on moving about in public places between midnight and 6 am in territories deemed to be at “high epidemiological and health risk.”
Provincial governments also have been given the authority to expand the length of the curfew as long as it does not exceed 10 hours.
Heavily populated Greater Buenos Aires once again is the hardest hit area (as it was during the first wave) and therefore also the territory with the strictest restrictions on movement.
Public transport there, for example, can only be used by workers at establishments such as supermarkets that are deemed essential.
To promote transportation via private vehicle, the number of parking spaces on public roads will be increased by 21 percent.
Buenos Aires authorities also are encouraging people to travel to their destinations on foot and bicycle to reduce the number of public transport users at peak hours.
While Argentine teachers and students are allowed to use public transport to get to their in-person classes, which will continue for the time being, the traditional “graduation trips” that students traditionally take at the end of a school year are currently suspended, as are school trips for sporting and recreational purposes.
Other restrictions include a ban on gatherings and activities involving 10 or more people at private homes.
Non-essential economic activities may continue to be carried out on-site if those businesses already have protocols in place, as long as capacity does not exceed 50 percent in indoor spaces.
In parts of the country where the health risk is deemed to be the highest, there is a prohibition on holding open-air activities and social gatherings with more than 20 people and practicing sports in enclosed spaces with more than 10 people.
Bars and restaurants are allowed to stay open until 11 pm, but the maximum capacity allowed in indoor sections of those establishments is 30 percent.
That same limitation applies to movie theaters, clubs, cultural centers and gymnasiums and other spaces hosting cultural, social, recreational and religious events.
These measures have been announced amid a slower-than-expected vaccine rollout that authorities attribute to supplier delays.
The government has distributed a total of 6.6 million doses to different jurisdictions. According to the latest figures, 4,170,357 people have received a single dose of a vaccine in that country of around 45 million people and 709,296 have received the two doses necessary to be fully inoculated.
The number of new daily confirmed cases has hit record highs on multiple occasions in recent days in Argentina, while Thursday’s 23,683 new cases were the most since the onset of the pandemic and lifted the grand total to 2,473,751.
The number of total deaths attributed to Covid-19 in that South American country stands at 57,122 after 290 new fatalities were reported in the most recent 24-hour period. EFE